INDEPENDENT NEWS

Help for Growers as Psa-V Declared an Adverse Event

Published: Wed 5 Dec 2012 04:04 PM
5 DECEMBER 2012
MEDIA RELEASE
Help for Kiwifruit Growers as Psa-V Declared an Adverse Event
New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) welcomes Government approval for a financial and recovery support package, for kiwifruit growers hit by the vine-killing disease Psa.
NZKGI President Neil Trebilco says the organisation has worked very closely with the Government, to firstly extend the coverage of existing adverse events recovery provisions to include incursions on pests and disease, and then get the Psa-V support package approved for kiwifruit growers.
“This will give some growers most affected by Psa a level of financial and welfare support to help them through the impact of this disaster.”
“The reality is the full impact of Psa is only just beginning to be felt as many growers start to face their first season without all, or a large part of their orchard cash flow, as a result of having lost their vines to the disease.”
“When the income from their last harvest stops is when the financial and psychological pressure of Psa will weigh most heavily on growers and their families,” Mr Trebilco said.
Under the support package those growers who are eligible will be able to:
• Have access to welfare and psychological support, through a Government contribution to community support agencies working with impacted growers and their families.
• Receive the Rural Assistance Payment (RAP). To be eligible, growers have to meet an income and asset test. For example, $341.60 for a married couple with no children, and $204.96 for a single person over 25 years of age. Assets that are part of the kiwifruit growing business will not be included in the assessment.
The Government’s recovery framework was initially designed with one-off weather events in mind and assistance runs out after 12 months for the Rural Assistance Payment and 18 months for the welfare support from the date of the declaration, Mr Trebilco said.
“The nature of the spread of Psa means that its impact will not be felt by everyone at the same time. It will continue to spread through the country so that means growers in different regions will face the pressure of the Psa incursion at different times”.
“We will work with the Government to develop a practical solution to this timeline challenge so help is available when growers need it,” Mr Trebilco said.
It is important that growers and the wider public realised the Government support was not forever. “The primary sector recovery support is not the answer to Psa. While it provides some assistance, this is not compensation for what growers have lost.”
The industry continues to focus on beating this disease and returning to its long-term growth path. “I’m confident we can do this, but in the meantime this kind of help is critical to give those who have lost almost everything, the time to recover and rebuild their lives”.
If anyone needs assistance they are encouraged to contact NZKGI on 0800 232 505.
ENDS

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